The Ultimate To Do List Completed

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My Christmases have varied over the years. I am stunned that this is my 17th Christmas as a married woman. FishPapa and I have seen a lot over those seasons: sickness, health, richer, poorer.

One thing has stayed constant — who God is.

The following post was written two years ago when we were reeling from the death of my mother-in-law. I had a newborn. I had moved to a new city. I was completely overwhelmed in looking at my to do list.

This year, while I actually ordered Christmas cards, I’m not hard-pressed to get them in the mail. Maybe I’m learning?

Even though my circumstances are different today, even though my to do list looks different, the truths of the goodness of Christ still hold strong.

Photo source

Four days left. December 25th looms on the calendar. Are you ready?

It seems that there’s this big, frantic deadline approaching. In years past, I’d be feeling anxious by now.

I haven’t baked but one kind of cookie.
I haven’t driven around looking at Christmas lights with the fam.
I haven’t even addressed a single Christmas card.

But, this year. I’m not worried about it.

I read somewhere, can’t remember where, about how the holidays are a time when the pressure is on for women to be at their best and to show off. It struck a chord with me because I think many of my Christmases Past have been about just that, showing off.

There was a time when I felt I had to have it all together. Handmade Christmas cards written and mailed by December 1, tree perfectly trimmed, a multitude of different cookies baked, presents handmade and gift wrapped in some creative, elegant way. Christmas carols playing in the background. It was really important to me to prove that I had it all together.

Or at least fake it really well.

This past year has been a major roller coaster ride: job change, cross-country move, life with SIX KIDS, and the loss of a loved one. All of these things have revealed to me how incredibly weak I am.

I do not have it all together.

There’ve been moments of desperation when I realize the challenges I’m up against and how terribly unequipped I am to tackle them. And this Christmas, instead of faking it, I’m just kind of shrugging.

I may not have it all together, but I know someone who does. God, in His infinite wisdom, created us with weaknesses. And our weaknesses prove to us how good and wonderful He is.

These truths bring me great comfort.

I may not know or understand all the events of the past week or past year. But, God does. And He is so infinitely more capable than I. So, I am going to rest and rejoice this week. It’s not all going to get done, but that is okay.

After all, the point of this week is to celebrate the fact that Jesus came. Though born a babe of humble beginnings, the God of the Universe chose to come and live among us. He was born under a law that no one but himself could keep.

He knew temptation, but did not sin. He died in the place of sinners, so that they might be reconciled to God. And He defeated sin and death. He rose again and lives at the right hand of the Father.

He came. He saw. And He conquered.

Way more important than getting everything checked off my list.

May you rest and rejoice in the midst of all the craziness this week.

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  1. Very well said, I have a newborn this year which makes 4. DS 8, DS 6, DS 2, and now a little princess, and I am letting go of my perfectionism and faking it, to just let God take care of it, and be free. This is the first Christmas in a long time that money isn’t really an issue, not that we have any more this year, but I’m not letting it take the joy away. Thanks for being so honest. I enjoy your posts.

  2. Love this post!

    This is the first year that I’ve felt relaxed about Christmas. The amount of cards I sent was slashed almost in half (really who besides my family wants a pictures of my kids?). The baking is less than I have ever done, the presents are all wrapped and under the tree (no surprises here – much less stress on momma).

    And I feel great about it – we can relax and enjoy Christmas Eve/Christmas with our family and if someone doesnt like how I’ve done something or not done something – I have no one to answer to except God and my hubby – as long as I am pleasing and honoring both of them. I’ve done my job!

  3. Thank you so much for those reflections. It helped me take a deep breath, sigh, and say, “It’s okay.” It’s time to resist the yearly tradition of rushing through Christmas “break” and then feeling more down and tired and stressed when it’s over than before it began.

  4. I am so glad you decided to re-post this. What a blessing! Thank you for reminding me just what all this celebrating is about-the peace that only HE offers. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  5. You are so right that life as a mom and woman who loves God is always a challenge to excellence. I just get tripped up when I decide what excellence is and get it all wrong! Seeking Him and to reflect His glory has been foremost in my mind these days as I do the dailies and the extras for the celebration of His advent. Hope you are experiencing His rest and rejoicing in the wonder of it all.

  6. I have to say I have reduced what we do for Christmas this year, down to the parties I at least went to. We have not baked cookies this year either, never mind homemade. Yet somehow my kids teacher’s still managed to get a homemade food gift this year. (The kids dipped pretzels in chocolate and peanut butter with sprinkles. As for cards I still have cards to go out, I suppose I will send them out since they are photo cards. No fancy Christmas Eve dinner here and no New Years Eve party. We are far from the Cranks but we are trying to do those things that have real meaning for our family. No guilt here either. I am enjoying this.

  7. This is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing it. Even though not everything I think should happen, is done, God is in control, I want His plans to be my plans. For the month of December I have been putting the Names of Jesus in my status each day. It is such a blessing to be thinking about who He is, rather than all the hustle & bustle of what the world thinks is important. Isaiah 30:15 “in quietness & trust is your strength” May everyone have a blessed Christmas season!!

  8. Thanks for the post. With 9 kids, my mil’s death this fall and surgery in Nov, I really haven’t had anything together. What a great reminder that when I am weak, he is always strong.

  9. I saw a vinyl wall quate yesterday and after reading your post I thought of it again.
    “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all”
    I also am not pulling out all the stops this year for Christmas, but rather enjoying extra time with my family and friends.
    Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

  10. Thank you for all the good reminders you have for us daily about what is truly important! I am so thankful to have your blog as a daily read. God Bless your family and have a Merry CHRISTmas!

  11. beautiful. thanks so much for the reminder of what we are preparing for. we aren’t trying to win a popularity contest; we are acknowledging and appreciating the greatest gift of all. your blog is so wonderful!

  12. Wow. Funny… within the past 10 minutes, I had a very heated conversation with my husband, telling him that it’s all on my shoulders and that I’m tired of it.

    For me, I don’t think it’s as much showing off as just trying to get it done. It being anything, or perhaps the whole season all together. If it were up to my husband, I doubt a tree would be put up, a gift bought/made, or a card sent. Even events with his family are handled by our social secretary, me.

    While I know that Christmas isn’t about those things, there are still things I want to do. Baking is fun. Doing is fun. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

    I hope by the time my hubby & I have been married 17 years, I can chill out like you can. I have 6 years to go.

    Thanks for the encouragement & perspective!

  13. Beautiful truths here.

    Yesterday when we came into our little suburb (a major hub-bub for Christmas lights) from a famlily trip to a big Greek grocery to get some neat food, we passed by a home with a simple wood cross with a tasteful burgundy ribbon draped across it. They had a tastefully done sign up that something to the effect of that the Lord will bring us the Peace & Comfort we are looking for in this age we are in.

    It was such a blessing to see that, amidst the traffic and the brash red & green lights and such, in contrast to Nat King Cole singing ‘O Holy Night’ I was feeling grieved in my spirit so this yard was refreshing for my soul.

    Yes, I too have fleece that was never cut into, a neat bear print that never turned to guy or grandpa pillows…It’s okay. So much to be thankful for.

    Christmas is everyday in our hearts right? : ) We do what we can and the rest can just wait for another day. Our families need the gift of happy mommies no matter what their ages. Perfectionism be gone. : )

    Sorry to ramble but your entry struck a chord in me. Bless you!

  14. I alternate between hyperventilating and shrugging. I still haven’t gotten out the wrapping paper or even attempted to look for the tape. We still have to make sugar cookies. I have been unable to locate what I was going to put under the tree for DH from kids. I still have to pull out the stockings. The list seems pretty long. However, it’ll get done. It always seems to get done and I’ll sigh and promise myself next year will go smoother.

  15. Thanks for sharing what God has worked in your heart. I have had some recent crazy times and have not always risen well to the challenges. That has made me upset, but it is also my pride involved. Instead this takes me to the foot of the cross to find forgiveness and rest. I kept wondering what I should learn if it was not that I had “grown past” some of these things. God reminded me that I am weak, He is strong, and I am in need of a Savior and daily Helper. Praise the Baby in the Manger who came to redeem His people!

  16. I’m feeling quite overwhelmed. My tree is still in the box, the homemade gifts haven’t been started, some gifts still need to be purchased and cookies may not get made. My house is a disaster and I don’t even know IF I have stockings. Christmas pictures will be late and I’m sure the post office will not be amused when I make my joke of, “Do you deliver on Christmas Day?”

    But this year has been tough and I know that regardless of my husbands family getting their gifts a week late, my family loves me and still accepts me for who I am. Most importantly, God loves me and accepts me and my flaws. This season isn’t about lights and trees. Its about Gods gift to us, the ultimate gift that can never be repaid.

  17. Absolutely awesome.. This is the year that am experiencing celebrating simplicity, gratitude even for life’s challenges and not attempting to ‘show off’.
    Thank you for sharing this Jessica. I hadn’t read this and am going to hold it close to my heart through anniversaries, birthdays and a host of other celebrations when we’re tempted to fake it.
    Happy Christmas!

  18. Wow! Great post! I needed it right now, badly.
    It’s been a rough year, with our third little one arriving February 15 of this year. I’ve always wanted a large family, and know that God has only given us children according to His perfect timing, but I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed and like a complete failure at everything so many days this year. I’ve tried so hard this Christmas to make things “perfect”, but it’s just not coming together. I’ve spent days trying to “catch up” and “get on track”, but no matter how hard I try, I fall further behind. Finally last night I realized, maybe I’m just trying to do way too much for this season of life. I cried the whole way through this post realizing that less is truly more so many times.

    So, with that being said, I’m putting down the laptop, grabbing my littles for snuggles, and refocusing. Thanks for the reminder. 😀

  19. Hey, Jessica –

    Just wanted to send a big “thank you” for your hard work in keeping us encouraged and edified. I really do appreciate your “voice” of encouragement and wisdom throughout my day (along with some of my fave new recipes! ;)). I know that there are big perks for being a blogger, but I also know that it is just plain hard work and I appreciate you using your gifts and skills to serve us.

    Merry Christmas to the FishFam!